Former UCLA All-American Steve Pate put together the two best rounds of his six-month pro career to take a one-stroke lead Friday at the midway point of the $500,000 Georgia-Pacific tournament at Atlanta.
Pate, who has finished no better than tied for 53rd in 13 previous PGA Tour appearances, backed up an opening-round 67 with a six-under-par 66 in the second round for an 11-under 133. His nearest rival, sometime race car driver Danny Edwards, shot a 65 for a 36-hole total of 134.
Another rookie, Andrew Magee, had a 65 Friday to stand third at nine-under 135, while a third rookie, Brad Fabel, who shot 65, was tied for fourth at 136 with Bob Eastwood (66), Loren Roberts (67), and Ray Floyd (68).
Pate, 24, has failed to make the cut half the time and has won less than $5,500. But on Friday, he had six birdies--one on a 40-foot chip shot--and no bogeys.
"Yesterday, I hit the ball as well as I have all year," Pate said of Thursday's 67. "Today, I only hit four fairways, but I hit the ball closer to the hole."
First-round leader Tony Sills shot even par 72 Friday, not impressive in light of the way most of the field continued to burn up the hilly, 7,000-yard Atlanta Country Club course. But thanks to his 65 on Thursday, Sills was tied at 137 with U.S. Open co-runnerup Dave Barr (65), Gibby Gilbert (68), Jeff Sanders (68), Scott Simpson (69) and Mac O'Grady (70).
Friday's best round was posted by 47-year-old Charles Coody, the 1971 Masters champion, who had an eight-under-par 64 for a 138.
Severiano Ballesteros took a triple-bogey-seven on the 18th hole and fell into a second-place tie with Glenn Ralph of Britain, one stroke behind the 138 of Sweden's Ove Sellberg after two rounds of the Irish Open at Dublin.
"That was a little bit sad," the 28-year-old Spaniard and reigning British Open champion said after his two-under-par 69.
In another day of wet and windy conditions, Sellberg equaled the day's lowest round of 68 to lead by one stroke.
Ballesteros picked up five birdies in the first 17 holes, missing only one green in the difficult conditions. He needed only a par-4 at the last hole to lead Sellberg by two strokes going into the third round.
"I was fighting against the weather, and my job was almost done until there was just one hole to go," Ballesteros said. "It is bad when you drop three shots at once, especially when it is the last hole and you have played so well for the other 17."
Defending champion Arnold Palmer dropped in a short birdie putt on the final hole to retain his one-stroke lead with a six-under-par 138 after two rounds in the $240,000 Senior Tournament Players Championship at Beachwood, Ohio.
Palmer survived an early double-bogey to shoot a one-under-par 71 in the second round at the 6,615-yard Canterbury Golf Club near Cleveland.
Howie Johnson recorded the best round of the day, a four-under-par 68, to pull within a stroke of the lead at 139 after 36 holes.
Miller Barber, with a 69, moved into third place at 140, two strokes from the lead. Lee Elder, with a 70, and Ken Still, with a 69, were tied for fourth at three-under-par 141.
Heather Drew, helped by an eagle, shot a five-under-par 67 Friday to take a two-stroke lead after two rounds of the $250,000 Mayflower tournament at Indianapolis.
Drew, who is winless with only $23,254 in official earnings since joining the LPGA tour in 1983, was at 139 after her lowest professional round.
Mary Beth Zimmerman, also winless since turning pro in 1983, moved into second at 141 with a 71 at the 6,203-yard, par-72 Country Club of Indianapolis.
Sally Quinlan, a three-time Massachusetts high school champion, also had a 67 to gain a tie for third at 142 with Canadian Barb Bunkowsky, who shot a 70.